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Bennelong & Barangaroo

Bennelong (1764–1813)

by Eleanor Dark 1966

Woollarawarre Bennelong, Aboriginal, was captured in November 1789 and brought to the settlement at Sydney Cove by order of Governor Arthur Phillip, who hoped to learn from him more of the natives’ customs and language. Bennelong took readily to life among the white men, relished their food, acquired a taste for liquor, learned to speak English and became particularly attached to the governor, in whose house he lodged.

In May he escaped, and no more was seen of him until September when he was among a large assembly of natives at Manly, one of whom wounded Phillip with a spear. The attack seems to have been the result of a misunderstanding, and Bennelong took no part of it; indeed, he expressed concern and frequently appeared near Sydney Cove to inquire after the governor’s health. The incident was thus

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